DSA #3 Towards Smarter Regulation in the Areas of Competition, Data Protection and Consumer Law: Why Greater Power Should Come with Greater Responsibility

Thursday 26 November 2020, 15:00 to 16:00

In this seminar, Prof. Graef discusses three ways in which the effectiveness of regulation in the areas of competition, data and consumer protection can be improved by tailoring substantive protections and enforcement mechanisms to the extent of market power held by firms. These insights feed into the issue how to design and enforce the forthcoming EU Digital Services Act in an effective manner.

First, she analyses how market power can be integrated into the substantive scope of protection of data protection and consumer law, drawing inspiration from competition law’s special responsibility for dominant firms. Second, she illustrates how more asymmetric and smarter enforcement of existing data protection rules against firms possessing market power can strengthen the protection of data subjects and stimulate competition, based on lessons from priority-setting and cooperation by consumer authorities. Third, she explores how competition law’s special responsibility for dominant firms can be further strengthened in analogy with the principle of accountability in data protection law and touching upon how positive duties to ensure fair outcomes for consumers are developed in consumer law. The timely analysis offers lessons for improving the ability of the three regimes to protect consumers by imposing greater responsibility on firms with greater market power and thus posing greater risks for consumer harm.


Inge Graef is associate professor of Competition Law at Tilburg University. She is affiliated to the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) and the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT). Inge holds expertise in the areas of competition law, platform regulation and the governance of data. She co-chairs the Digital Clearinghouse initiative, which aims to facilitate cooperation and exchange of insights between regulatory authorities across Europe and beyond in the areas of competition, data protection and consumer law. Inge is also appointed as a member of the European Commission's expert group to the EU Observatory on the Online Platform Economy.

This seminar is organised as part of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in Perspective Series on online platform responsibility, organised by the Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation (CD2I) at VUB-BSoG, in collaboration with the Chair 'Fundamental Rights and the Digital Transformation' at VUB-LSTS and the Brussels Privacy Hub. Please click here for more information on past and future events in the series.